The importance of working with an architect

Don Kanare & Sabrina Belleci
Special to the Tribune
Don Kanare and Sabrina Belleci, ReMax Realty

A lot of attention in the world of real estate is paid to buyers, sellers, agents, title companies and all types of service providers. But without architects, most of us would be living in mud huts or teepees.

Incline Village and Crystal Bay are characterized by custom homes that could not have been designed without the creative skills of highly trained and well educated architects who bring their years of experience to the table.

The path to becoming an architect requires a minimum of four to five years of college education followed by a lengthy internship. Once those steps have been successfully completed there are a series of rigorous exams that need to be passed prior to completing the licensing process.

Whenever you are considering a major remodeling project, expansion of your home or any type of new construction the first step in the process should be to consult with an architect. Ultimately, the architect will be the team leader who coordinates every step of the process.

This could potentially involve working with contractors, a surveyor, landscape architects, structural, mechanical, electrical and civil engineers, interior designers and others who are crucial to the successful completion of your project. A good architect brings together all of these disciplines to the client as one package and coordinates all of their efforts from start to finish.

Initially, the architect will assist the client in fully defining the scope and nature of the project, taking into account their hopes and dreams as well as their budgetary concerns.

In many respects, architects are problem solvers that help to establish a well defined project. They create a design solution that addresses all of the project requirements and turns their client’s wish list into a reality. The design process begins with creating some basic conceptual design drawings, which will evolve to produce a final design that addresses all of the aesthetic as well as functional requirements of the project.

Schematic design and design development services for residential projects will generally take anywhere from three to six weeks. Once the design process is completed the construction drawings are created over the next couple of months and the project is then ready to submit for permits.

Working in the Lake Tahoe basin creates special challenges for architects along with the rest of the members of the project team.

There are not only the usual state and county building codes, rules and regulations but also the restrictions and requirements imposed by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA). It takes many years of experience and a great working relationship with these agencies to optimize the implementation and shepherd the project through the permit process.

Budget limitations are always an important aspect to consider. An architect can help you with proper monitoring along the way to insure that your final design is developed in a manner consistent with your proposed project budget.

Whether you are contemplating expanding an existing home, building from the ground up or doing a major remodeling project, consulting with an architect is an important first step before attempting to get estimates from contractors, landscape designers, interior decorators or anyone else who will be involved with making your dreams come true.

Don Kanare is the founder and Sabrina Belleci is the owner and broker of RE/MAX North Lake in Incline Village. You can follow their blog at

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